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locusis upon the earth. But I am persuaded, that in a system of irreligion, nothing can be imagined more dreadful than the miseries, which the holy Spirit here saith these infernal locusts inflict upon mankind. These were commanded not to kill, but to torment five months such men as had not the seal of God in their foreheads. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. It is a miserable relief, I grant, to destroy ones self to avoid divine punishment. But doth death put an end to our existence? Is a sinner less in the hand of God in the grave, than he is during this life? . Whither shall I go from thy
spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy pre• sence? Psal. cxxxix. 7.
What misery in the eyes of an irreligious man to be tormented through life, and to be deprived of a relief which the wretched almost always have in view, I mean death! For how many ways are there of getting rid of life? And to what degree of impotence must be be reduced who is not able by any means to put an end to life; In those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
But if the greatest misery in the account of an irreligious man be not to have the power of getting rid of the troubles of a few years, by destroying himself, what will be the state of the damned to see themselves under a fatal necessity of existing for ever, and of not having the power of terminating their existence, and of sinking into nothing? What despairing and cruel complaints will this necessity of existing cause? In vain will they seek refuge in dens and chasms of the earth! In vain will they implore mountains and rocks to fall on them, and hide them! In vain will they curse the day, and execrate the night of their birth! They will be obliged to exist, because Almighty God will refuse them that act of omnipotence, without which they cannot be annihilated.
Such will be the misery of the damned, and such is the extreme misery to which Jesus Christ adjudges Judas. But this inan, you will say, had a dark perfidious soul, he was a traitor, he had the infamy to betray his Saviour, and to sell him for thirty pieces of silver; this man was such a monster as nature hardly produces in many centuries. My brethren, I am come now to the most odious, but most necessary part of my discourse. I must enter on the mortifying task of examining whether there be any resemblance between some of this assembly and the unhappy Judas. What a task to perform in such an auditory as this! What a gospel to preachato christians! What murmurs are we going to excite in this assembly! The word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision daily. Then, I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with for. bearing, and I could not stay, Jer. xx. 8, 9.
Do not think that I intend to conclude my discourse by abusing the liberty given me of speaking in this pulpit, by attempting to make an ingenious essay on a subject the most grave and solemn; be not afraid of my extenuating the crimes of Judas, and exaggerating yours. How is it possible to extenuate the crimes of Judas ? When I represent to myself a man, whom the Saviour distinguished in a manner so remarkable, a man who travelled with him, a man to whom he not only revealed the mysteries of his kingdom, but whom
he associated with hiinself to teach them to the world, to subvert the empire of satan, and set his captives free, and to preach this gospel, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Sell that you hare, and gire alms, provide yourselves bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, Matt. vi. 19, &c. Luke xii. 33. When I consider this man freely opening his heart to the demon of avarice, parleying with the most obstinate enemies of his divine mas. ter, proposing to deliver him up to their barbarity, agreeing on the price of treason, executing the horrible stipulation, coming at the head of the most vile and infamous mob that ever was, giving the fatal signal to his unworthy companions, kissing Jesus Christ, and saying while he saluted him, hail master; when I consider this abominable man, far from attempting to extenuate his crime, I can find no colors dismal enough to describe it. No: I tremble at the bare idea of this monster, and involuntarily exclaim, O execrable love of money! To what will thou not impel the hearts of men!,
But does this odious picture resemble none but Judas ? Ah! when I imagine a christian born in this age of knowledge, a christian with the gospel in his hand, convinced of the truth and beauty of religion, a christian, communicant at the table of Jesus Christ, who hath vowed a hundred times an eternal obedience to God, and hath tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come : when I consider this christian full of contrivances, intriguing in certain circles, exposing to the world a spectacle of immodesty, resisting the ministry, exclaiming against such religious discourses as his depravity forbids him to obey; or,
to confine myself to the disposition of Judas, when I observe this christian like Judas, possessed with the demon of avarice, hardening his heart against the cries of the wretched, pillaging the widow and the fatherless of their daily bread, selling his own soul and the souls of his children, rather than break through a papal interdict, rather than quit a country where truth is hated and persecuted, where there is no public worship during life, no consolations at the hour of death. When I consider such christians, I protest I almost pity Judas, and turn all my indignation against them.
My brethren, I said, and I repeat it again, the task is mortifying, the matter is offensive, but I must come to it: if I seek to please men, I shall not be the servant of Christ. Let us lay aside vague ideas, and let us enter on some detail. Let us describe Judas, but let us not forget ourselves, too much resembling this ugly man. Let us examine, first, the passion that governed him-next, the crime to which it impelled him--then the circumstances in which he committed it--fourthly, the pretexts with which he covered it and finally, the confession he was compelled to make.
1. What passion governed Judas ? Every one knows, it was avarice. Which of us is given up to this passion? Rather which of us is free from it?
Avarice may be considered in two different points of light. It may be considered in those men, or rather those public bloodsuckers, or, as the officers of the Roman empire Vespasian were called, those sponges of society, who infatuated with this passion, seek after riches as the supreme good, determine to acquire it by any methods, and consider the ways that lead to wealth, legal or illegal, as the only road for them to travel. Let the laws be violated, let the people be oppressed, let
equity be subverted, let a kingdom be sacrificed to their irresistible passion for wealth, let it be across a thousand depopulated countries, a thousand ruined families, let it be over a thousand piles of mangJed carcases, that they arrive at fortune, provided they can but acquire it, no matter what it costs.
This is our first notion of avarice. But in this point of light, who of us hath this passion ? Nobody, not one person, I except none. I leave to the searcher of hearts to determine whether it be the vehemence of our piety, or the impotence of our condition, that prevents our carrying avarice to this length; whether it be respect for the laws, or dread of them, that keeps us from violating them; whether we abstain from oppressing mankind, because we love, or because we fear them; whether sacrificing our country to our love of wealth, be prevented by our love to our country, or by a despair of success. Yes, I leave the decision of this question to the searcher of hearts. I would as far as I can, without betraying my ministry, form the most favorable judgment of my hearers; therefore I affirm not one of us is avaricious in this first sense.
Avarice, however, must be considered in a second point of light. It not only consists in committing bold crimes, but in entertaining mean ideas, and practising low methods, incompatible with such magnanimity as our condition ought to inspire. It consists not only in an intire renunciation of the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, but in not seeking it first, in the manner proposed. It consists not only in always endeavoring to increase our wealth, but in harboring continual fears of losing it, and perplexing ourselves in endless methods of preserving it. It consists not only in wholly withholding from the